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Full text of "NightRider"

453

-" she began, and stopped.   Her hand, which was
in the act of reaching again toward him, paused hi the air.
"Listen," she ordered.   "I heard something."

They waited, then Tolliver said, "It's nothing, Matilda."

"It was," she insisted. "Listen." She went to the outside
door, and stood against it, with her hand on the latch, listen-
ing. "It is," she said. She opened the door a little, and
leaned, staring out.

Mr. Munn moved quickly to the other side of the room.

" It is," she repeated, turning again.   " On the road, horses."

"The soldiers," Mr. Munn said steadily. He opened the
door behind him, gathering himself.

"A door"—Matilda was saying—"to the side, the side
porch-----"

He found the door in the dark, and opened it. He heard a
movement down toward the road. He could make out nothing
at the moment, except the lighter space of the open fields
beyond the yard, and high, to his left, the darker mass of the
woods. Half-crouching, he ran across the yard, stumbling.
He ran into the wall, and fell, and got over. Sylvestus, he
thought; Sylvestus, he told them. Then: He waited till to-
day, he didn't have nerve till today, all this time, weeks, and
didn't have the nerve till today. He ran on across the rough
ground, and fell, and ran. "The bastard, the bastard," he
breathed aloud.

Ahead of him, across the field, were the woods. Down the
slope, there were the voices calling, sharply, hollowly, like the
voices of boys. At that sound, so empty in the darkness, an
astonishing delight sprang up in him, a wild and intoxicating
contempt. He scarcely felt the ground beneath him, under
his plunging stride.

He fell again, and, rising, saw to one side and above Mm
on the slope, vaguely against the field and paler sky, the
standing form of a man. But there—there, beyond that form
—would be the woods, the absorbing darkness, the safety, the
swift and secret foot. And only that form between. As he
lifted the revolver and aimed at that dark figure, he was cer-